Solar Storage Solutions
If there is one area of solar that has grown more rapidly than the industry as a whole, it’s solar storage. As solar power boomed in the residential sector, most systems were designed without storage. Adding solar batteries was expensive and required a significant amount of space, and, due to mediocre efficiency, the return on that investment was typically minimal.
In recent years, however, solar storage has grown at a rate that manages to outpace the already rapid pace of solar power. Here at PowerStore, Inc., we have been specializing in solar storage for years, long before the rise in demand for solar batteries. This has allowed us to cultivate relationships with leaders in the solar storage industry and kept us ahead of the curve regarding the latest in solar battery advancements.
If you’re considering adding storage to your solar project, here’s what you need to know.
How Solar Batteries Have Changed
The solar battery banks of the past looked like several interconnected car batteries—and, essentially, they were. While banks of this type certainly do exist, solar battery has come a long way in recent years. It’s become more efficient, more space-conscious, safer, easier to maintain, and more affordable. Premade battery banks and stackable battery cells have made solar energy more versatile as well, allowing banks to be built for solar systems of all sizes.
Round-trip efficiency, life expectancy, and depth of discharge have all improved significantly over recent years. Each factor contributes to a lower cost per watt for the storage user—you. The average solar power user can feasibly add a solar battery bank to their system and become entirely energy independent, even while remaining connected to the city grid.
The Benefits of Adding Solar Batteries
Every person’s solar needs differ, including your solar storage needs. If you’re on the fence about adding solar storage to your system design, here are a few important benefits to consider when making your decision:
- Avoid citywide power outages – Whether your area is prone to storms that knock out the power, or you simply know to expect rolling power outages at certain times of the year, adding batteries to your solar system allows you to avoid being subject to those outages. A grid-tie system will be shut down for safety purposes when the city grid goes down, regardless of whether or not the sun is currently shining. Adding a battery bank to create a hybrid solar power system allows you to disconnect from the grid when it goes out, so you can continue using solar power while the rest of your neighborhood is dark.
- Eliminate your power bill – When you have grid-tied solar power, odds are low that you will ever eliminate your electricity bill. Even if your city provides net metering, allowing you to get credits for the excess solar power you feed into the grid, it’s unlikely that that excess production will exceed your consumption of grid-supplied power. This means you’ll still get a monthly power bill, even if it’s much smaller than normal. If you want to eliminate your bill, that is only possible with the addition of a battery bank, so you can directly consume that excess solar power in the evenings.
- Do more for the environment – Switching to solar power is already a huge step in the right direction, but as we already stated, grid-tied power still relies on those fossil fuels daily. If you want to go green, the best way to do that is to rely on renewable solar energy daily and at night, which can only be done by using solar storage.
If any of these benefits are important to you, then solar battery storage may be the perfect addition to your system’s design. If you’re still not sure, you can reach out to the experts at PowerStore, Inc. We’ll discuss the pros and cons with you to help you decide whether you should opt for a grid-tie solar system or a hybrid system that includes solar storage.
Adding Batteries to an Existing System
One question we often receive from those interested in solar batteries is whether or not a battery bank can be added to an existing solar power system. Whether you installed solar power before the reduced cost of storage, or you’re simply weighing your options for the system you plan to install, this is a valid question. Solar equipment already costs a fair sum, and a battery bank to completely meet your needs can nearly double the cost of the initial installation; this makes adding the battery bank later when you have more of a budget a very appealing option. But is it feasible?
The simple answer here is yes, it is possible to add a battery bank later. There are two ways that we can assist with this.:
- AC coupling: You have the option of adding a second inverter in parallel with your existing system that essentially only operates when commanded – (e.g., During peak times or grid outages)
- DC coupling: removing your existing grid-tie inverter and replacing it with a hybrid inverter that includes charge controllers to charge the batteries safely and an inverter that converts that battery power into usable AC power suitable for use in your home.
So, if you already installed a grid-tied inverter and want to upgrade to Solar + Storage, please give PowerStore a call, and one of our fully trained professionals would be glad to walk you through that selection.
In addition to that, it’s important to consider how quickly solar evolves. If you believe you’ll be adding a battery bank in the next few years, you shouldn’t encounter any issues with compatibility. However, that story changes if you think you’ll be waiting 5, 8, or even 10 years. Odds are that solar will continue to evolve rapidly, and you may have compatibility issues between the newest battery models and your existing inverter.
Get the Solar Storage Equipment You Need
If you’re building a solar-plus-storage system, contact PowerStore, Inc. We are experts in solar batteries and solar storage systems and can help you find the right equipment while offering the expert guidance and support you need to build a hybrid solar power system. Call now to get started.